Kate Middleton’s stunning 40th birthday portraits have already become one of her most startling moments as a royal. The photographer who captured her beauty with such delicate nuance, Paolo Roversi, has revealed behind the scenes details from their shoot, including the picture her family was most enamored by.
Speaking with the Italian newspaper, Corriere Della Sera, Paolo shared that he encouraged the duchess to dance an “accelerated waltz with a pinch of rock ‘n roll” when she was wearing the organza Alexander McQueen dress.The skilled photographer who has captured the likes of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell also shared that though Kate was “apprehensive” at first, once they began, she became comfortable and embraced the experience.
“But at first the duchess was apprehensive. Every day she is machine-gunned by photographers but not used to posing; knowing my photos with the models she was a bit fearful in facing a real session, which then required about four hours of work,” he told the publication. “But once she started it would be very easy, I reassured her.”
Paolo and Kate were able to create 250 photos which were cut down to 70, and from the bunch, Prince William and the couple’s children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis chose one, which stood out as their favorite — the black-and-white closeup picture of Kate beaming at the camera in an Alexander McQueen’s ruffled shoulder gown.
Inspired by British fashion photographer Cecil Beaton, the images were captured in natural light to highlight Kate’s inherent beauty. “Little makeup, no hairstyle, simple earrings, a ring… the focal point of Kate’s face is her gaze and smile,” mused Paolo. He and the duchess also looked to 19th-century photography for further inspiration — the special era was the theme of Kate’s undergraduate thesis when she studied art history at the University of St Andrews.
After the well-received portraits were released, Kate shared a heartfelt message of thanks on Sunday evening in the UK, writing, “Thank you for all of your very kind birthday wishes and to Paolo and the National Portrait Gallery for these three special portraits. C”
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.